1Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD was standing by.
The commentator I am using, Boda, notes that the setting of this vision appears to be the heavenly court, with the angel of the Lord as a kind of judge, Satan (the Accuser) as a kind of prosecuting attorney, and Joshua as the defendant. Boda focuses much on the significance of this passage for the restoration of the priestly order in the early post-exilic community from the stain of exile. I also find it a powerful reminder of Christ’s atonement for sins and imputed righteousness. I like the way the text continually draws attention to the presence of the angel of the Lord in the proceedings. I also like the way that not only are Joshua’s filthy garments taken away, but he is clothed with “pure” garments. I find in this passage a beautiful picture of the way Christ has delivered us from our terrible accuser by atoning for the guilt of our sin and covering us with the priceless gift of his own righteousness.
“Zechariah 3 reminds us of God’s sovereign election and free grace, assuring revelation from God that silences both accuser and accusation.” -Boda, p. 266